KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — Two Opposition MPs have called for a public audit on closed-circuit television recordings (CCTVs) at detention centres after Sarawak police admitted there was no footage to investigate a 16-year-old girl’s claim to have been raped by another detainee while in custody.
In separate statements today, Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto and Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng both said an audit would help prevent further abuses of those held by the police.
“Apart from an in-depth investigation into the unwarranted detention and rape of a child in police custody, a nationwide audit must be carried out on the functionality of CCTVs in all police stations, documented and revealed to the Government and the public in a week,” said Kasthuri.
“Data on the functionality of these CCTVs and the reaction by the Government to furnish upgraded, modern hardware to the men and women in blue may just as well act as a preventive measure against rape, violations, torture and deaths in police custody in the near future.”
Kasthuri also said that although RM16 billion of the nation’s 2021 budget had gone to the Home Ministry — RM8 million of which went to police stations — CCTVs and cameras were not mentioned in the budget.
She also asked for clarification on the status of a RM73 million project to equip all police detention centres with CCTVs, which was initiated by the Pakatan Harapan government in 2019.
“This is important to prevent more rapes and mysterious deaths in detention like the case of Teoh Beng Hock,” said Lim, referring to the case of a young journalist and political aide, who fell to his death after being questioned at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters in 2009.
Lim questioned the safety of criminal evidence kept at police stations under CCTV surveillance.
“Or, a more relevant question: Did anyone try to hide away or erase the evidence? Was there any form of corruption involved?” he asked regarding the recent rape case.
The alleged rape of the 16-year-old girl is said to have occurred on January 8, and was reported by the media last Saturday.
It is alleged she was held for supposed involvement in illegal online gambling activities, and was raped by a male detainee who had the key to the door separating their cells.
Although it is currently unclear what the male detainee was being held for, it was reported that he is also a juvenile.
Investigations into the case have been launched, and two police officers have been suspended so far.
Yesterday, Sarawak police commissioner Datuk Aidi Ismail said there was a CCTV camera installed in the lockup, but it does not have recording function and can only be used for real-time monitoring.
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